Tuesday, September 3, 2013

This could be my last week in this suburb of Boise. I hope not, the work here is exploding, in one small cul 'de sac we just found 5 potential investigator homes with members to work with fellowshipping them. We're meeting, every day, incredible people and having trouble keeping up with it all. We have to rely on members to make friends with and gain the trust of the nonmembers. It's so much better that way because the chances that a member will be able to make that friendship is so much greater than a missionary's. There's just so much good we can do here.

I absolutely love this time of my mission. The field truly is "white already to harvest". It's the people that have made it what it is. We met a quadraplegic who can only breathe, move his biceps and some of his shoulder muscles. It's absolutely incredible to see his faith and how he finds joy in the absolute simplest of things. He competed in motorcross and rode for 15 years before his accident. He was out with his brothers and a friend and he hit something wrong and flew over the handlebars into a tree, breaking his 4th vertebrae in his neck, killing the nerves in his central nervous system that control movement in much of his body. I almost threw up hearing him talk about it and seeing how dramatically it's affected his life.

I felt the Spirit of the Lord very intensely at that moment and knew that the Savior had been there for him and had undergone it all, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:11-12). I love how the Savior underwent what he did so he could know how we feel in those moments when we don't think anyone can.

Our investigator on parole can be baptized sometime in the next 6 months, depending on when the First Presidency (yeah it had to go to them) gets back to us. He just knew the first time Elders met with him that this Church he could believe in. Right before he interviewed with the Mission President we asked if he had felt like he had repented of what he did. I got the thought to ask him if he felt guilt over what he did. When he answered that he's racked with guilt I turned to Alma 24:8, "I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and also that he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son." I asked him how much more guilty the Lamanites felt than he did, and he answered at least 10 times as guilty. Then I was able to explain to him that he would continue to "look upon sin...with abhorrence;" (Alma 13:12) but that the guilt could be eventually remitted by looking to Jesus Christ. We committed him to continue to read from the Book of Mormon and to ask in prayer for his guilt to be taken away.

One thing I've loved about my mission is the opportunity I have to study the scriptures for 2 hours a day. It's absolutely incredible when you unlock the scriptures for yourself, no one can give you the incredibly rewarding education from the scriptures. You have to go and get it. Read Ether 3 and 4 and think about the grand purpose of the Church's first mandate, to preach the Gospel, we will accomplish and what we hopefully will unfold in our lifetimes. Think about how important it is for us to repent and exercise faith in Jesus Christ and continue to build and grow.

We got to watch the new temple film, it was absolutely incredible. The Spirit was strong and there's a peculiar feeling you have during the endowment. During one part of the film I felt the Spirit incredibly strongly that I was "called of God, by prophecy . . . to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof" (A o F #5). I can get overwhelmed quickly with the task of being one of only two persons for 2000 people who can invite them to repent, be baptized and live such that they can return to their Heavenly Father's presence. However God knows the end from the beginning and we're only on the very frontlines of this great work of Salvation. The work is true, and God is depending on us to go and rescue His children. If you lack a testimony read the Book of Mormon, live the gospel as best you can and pray about it, it will come in its own way and time.

Elder Szendre

P.S. Can you ship me some Idaho potatoes? jk, but seriously no one can buy them here, you have to know a farmer to get some. Oh, and people here do cookies in snow covered parking lots, not doughnuts.

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